Mr. William Melvin Brown Esson
was one of the pioneer settlers of Picton. He was born in the Orkney Islands in the year 1840, and came to New Zealand at an early age. Mr. Esson landed in Nelson in 1856,
and shortly afterwards took up land in Picton, where he farmed for the remaining years of his life. He took an active part in public affairs, and was for some years a member of the Picton Borough Council. Mr. Esson died
in July, 1901, leaving a widow who still (1905) survives him, and seven sons. One of his sons, Mr. John Esson, who is further referred to as a Picton Borough Councillor, succeeded to the management of the estate known as Esson's Valley.
Mrs. W. M. B. Esson
was one of the first white women to permanently settle in Picton, and is now (1905) the oldest female resident of the town. She was born in May, 1843, in Upper Canada, where her father, formerly a storekeeper in Ireland, had taken up
land. Her father died in the year 1845, and in 1855 she came to New Zealand with her mother, who in that year started a general store in Picton, then known as Waitohi, as the Government then began to make a road through the Waitohi Valley to Blenheim, known in those days as Beaver Town. Mrs Esson has resided all along in Picton, where she was married to Mr. W. M. B. Esson in January, 1869.
Mr. James Fuller
, one of Picton's earliest settlers, was born on the 7th of February, 1831, near Killaloe, County Clare, Ireland, and is the eldest living son of the late Sir. John Fuller, a storekeeper, of English birth. Early in the forties the family went to America, and for about twelve years farmed in Upper Canada, where Mr. Fuller, senior, met his death. They then removed to Melbourne, Australia, where Mr. James Fuller was for about one year and three months storeman in a large wholesale warehouse. In the year 1854, he came to New Zealand, and after spending about twelve months in general work at Nelson, he went to Picton, where he has since resided. For twenty years Mr. Fuller successfully traded as a general contractor, then entered into business with Mr. J. A. R. Greensill,
and subsequently retired into private life. He was a member of the Marlborough Provincial Council for a year, was for many years a member of the Picton Rifle Volunteers, and of the local school committee, and his taken an active part in many other public bodies. Mr. Fuller was one of the first members of the Anglican church in Picton, was an officer of the church for many years, and is still an active and useful supporter. He married Miss McCormick, of Picton, in the year 1860, and has five sons and four daughters. His mother, Mrs. John Fuller, who accompanied him to Picton in 1855, and died in 1895, was the first European woman to permanently settle in Picton. Mr. Fuller is now the Father of Picton, and in its oldest early inhabitant.
Mr. William Pugh
, though of Welsh parentage, was born in Manslow, Shropshire, England, in October, 1828. He was educated at Delvery, near Manslow, and afterwards learned the building trade under his father. In the year 1853, Mr. Pugh came to New Zealand, and for several years was employed successively as a builder, brickmaker, and farmer in various parts of the Nelson province. In 1860, he visited Australia, where for a short time his followed his trade in Sydney, and then went to the gold-fields. In 1861, Mr. Pugh returned to New Zealand, and for one year and six months conducted the Masonic Hotel in Havelock. He then removed to Picton, where he has since resided. Mr. Pugh worked for a time at his trade, and subsequently conducted an hotel for about twenty years. Later on, he kept a dairy farm for a few years, and then returned to the building trade, which he has since followed. Although now (1905) nearly eighty years of age he still takes his place at the bench in the firm conducted by his sons, known as Messrs Pugh Brothers. Mr. Pugh was for many years a member of the Picton Town Board, the Picton Borough Council, the local volunteer corps, the Picton Band, and the Picton Lodge of Oddfellows. He has four sons and four daughters.
Mr. Samuel Swanwick
arrived in Picton in the year 1864, when there were only three or four houses in the place. He was born in Nottinghamshire,
England, in 1834, and educated for the teaching profession, but emigrated to Australia, where he worked on the diggings at Ballarat and Bendigo for about three years, and was fairly successful. In 1862, he landed in Otago, and worked at Beaumont, Blue Spur, Dunedin, and Gabriel's Gully. He was one of the first to start a cordial factory in Otago. In 1864 he settled at Picton, and carried on a lucrative business as a cordial manufacturer for many years. Mr. Swanwick served as Mayor of Picton for
two terms, and was appointed a Justice of the Peace by the Stout-Vogel Government. He was a member of the first volunteer corps in Picton, and a prominent cricketer. He took an active part in gold and coal mining ventures, and any movement started for the benefit of Picton was warmly espoused by him. His death took place on the 9th of November, 1897.
Dr. Charles Scott
, sometime of Picton, was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, in 1833, and was educated at Dublin, the Dungannon Royal School, and at the University of Glasgow, where he obtained his L.E.P.S.G. and other degrees. In 1863, he came to New Zealand as ship's surgeon on the barque “Dauntless,” commanded by Captain Cowan, and commenced practice for himself at Winton, where the men employed on
The late Dr. C. Scott.
the railway works were placed under his medical charge. After residing at several places in Southland for fifteen years in all, Dr. Scott removed to Picton in 1878, and thence onward acted in the capacity of surgeon to the Picton Hospital. He was also medical adviser to the Maoris, and examiner for the Government Life Insurance Department, and for various societies in the district. Dr. Scott was also associated with the volunteers, and held the position of Surgeon-Major of the Picton corps, which were disbanded in 1880. He was married, and had four sons and two daughters Dr. Scott died on the 21st of March, 1904.
, Picton. This pa was first inhabited in the year 1828, and has steadily increased, and is now the home of nearly a hundred families. A native school has been in existence at the pa for a great many years, and a neat little church was recently completed. The pa is situated in Waikawa Bay, two miles and a-half by road from Picton.
Mr. Daniel Love
, sometime Chief of Waikawa, was of the Ngatiawa tribe. He was born at Waikawa Pa in 1859,
and was educated at the local native school. Early in the eighties he went to reside in the Hutt district, Wellington, where he remained until his father's death, in 1894, when he returned to Waikawa, and succeeded his father in the chiefship. Mr. Love possessed a sheep station in Queen Charlotte Sound, with an area capable of carrying over 10,000 sheep. He married a daughter of the late Hon. W. T. Ngatata, who was Maori chief in the Wellington district for over twenty years, and was a member of the Legislative Council from 1872 until his death in 1888. Mr. Love had a family of four sons and three daughters, and died some time ago.